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WRU report says Cardiff 'robbed' of victory in Belfast

By Ian Cameron
Scott Wilson of Ulster is tackled by Taulupe Faletau of Cardiff during the United Rugby Championship match between Ulster and Cardiff at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. (Photo By John Dickson/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

A WRU match report has claimed that Cardiff were “robbed” of victory following a controversial refereeing intervention in the dying moments of their defeat to Ulster in the URC.

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Cardiff seemed to be on the verge of a remarkable victory – their first win in Belfast in 14 years – when a massive call saw a 10-point turnaround in the final minutes of the game.

Match officials TMO Andrew McMenemy and referee Mike Adamson had a big say in the outcome by disallowing what would have been a hat-trick try for Theo Cabango and almost certain match-winner with the score at 16-17.

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Instead, a penalty was awarded to the home side Ulster which edged them into a 19-17 lead with 79 minutes on the clock.

The incident that turned the match occurred late in the game when Cardiff’s replacement prop – Rhys Carre – was adjudged to have deliberately knocked on a pass inside his own 22. The ball appeared to spin backwards and was gathered by his teammate Ben Donnel. Tinus de Beer’s upfield kick and subsequent recovery seemed to have secured a dramatic late win for Cardiff with a corner try from Cabango.

However, the try was overturned, Carre was sent to the sin-bin, and Ulster’s John Cooney kicked the decisive penalty.

Points Flow Chart

Ulster win +2
Time in lead
7
Mins in lead
63
9%
% Of Game In Lead
79%
82%
Possession Last 10 min
18%
3
Points Last 10 min
3

It was a bitter pill for Cardiff and their supporters to swallow, their ever-improving onfield performances once again not rewarded.

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A WRU match report headlined ‘Faletau injured again as Cardiff robbed of statement victory’ said that “Cardiff were robbed of a first win in Ulster for 14 years, and their first win of 2024, when the TMO joined forces with the referee to rule out a hat-trick try for Theo Cabanago and instead awarded a penalty to the home side on the 22 at the other end of the pitch.”

Adding to Cardiff’s woes was an injury to Wales and British & Irish Lions star Taulupe Faletau. The back row exited the game after only 30 minutes due to what was initially suspected to be a recurrence of a broken left arm. This injury occurred during the World Cup when Faletau was injured against Georgia.

His attempted comeback had already been delayed by a calf injury sustained during rehabilitation. The loss of Faletau, a veteran with over 100 caps for Wales, was a further blow to the team, especially with Wales head coach Warren Gatland keen on Faletau’s successful return to the field after a prolonged absence.

“He is being assessed after having a knock on his shoulder and we don’t know the extent of the injury yet,” said Cardiff head coach Matt Sherratt. “It is not the same injury from my understanding. Fingers crossed, it’s not too bad because he’s put a huge amount of effort in over the last six or seven months to come back.

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“I am gutted for Toby. I’m sure the boys will get around him.”

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2 Comments
B
Bull Shark 63 days ago

I hope WRU cops a 12 month ban.

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